After a year and a half, Netflix's Friends from College is back. The comedy's first season didn't get the greatest reviews, to say the least, but it was nonetheless renewed for more episodes. Now, can it redeem itself enough to secure a Friends from College Season 3, or have these pals reached the end of the road?
Update: Friends from College has been canceled after two seasons, Variety reported.
Earlier: So far, there's been no official renewal news, but that's not out of the ordinary. As reported by Variety, the show was renewed for an eight-episode Season 2 in August 2017, about a month after the first season premiered, so it's safe to assume any Season 3 announcements will follow the same timeline.
It's also clear Netflix is pretty invested in the show. Its Season 2 renewal was slightly surprising, considering the critical response was less than stellar: Season 1 holds a Rotten Tomatoes score of only 24 percent. Yet, the streaming service chose to continue the story from showrunners (and married couple) Nicholas Stoller and Francesca Delbanco. In Friends from College Season 2, no one in the friend group has spoken to Lisa (Cobie Smulders) since she discovered that her husband Ethan (Keegan Michael-Key) had been cheating on her with their friend Sam (Annie Parisse). But they're all about to reunite once again for Max (Fred Savage) and Felix's (Billy Eichner) wedding.
In an interview with Thrillist, Stoller and Delbanco said they were taken aback by the harsh criticism the show faced after Season 1, and stood by their portrayal of both the comedy and sadness that is life and their somewhat unlikable characters. "People have no issue with one of my favorite shows ever, Mad Men," Stoller said of the acclaimed AMC drama. "In the pilot, [Don Draper] has a double life, essentially. I think in drama there's more acceptance. Maybe people want the more idealized version of their lives in comedy? I have no idea."
At the time, Season 2 hadn't been announced, but Delbanco noted, "It also does feel, to us, like this show is still finding its audience." With Season 2, Friends from College will get another chance to connect with viewers. And if not, well, Stoller still has plenty in the works: the Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Neighbors director recently sold four shows to CBS, ABC, and FOX.
After the Season 2 premiere date was announced, the Stoller and Delbanco talked to IndieWire about how the reviews impacted their approach, explaining that this season, they moved the story forward a year and ended Sam and Ethan's affair. "It was very clear from the critical response that people were really unhappy and uncomfortable about the affair between Sam and Ethan," Delbanco said. Stoller added, "We were planning on adjusting it anyway because doing more affair stories would have just been repetitive, but that is not a part of the second season ... which I think will be a relief for a lot of people."
The fact that the affair is over and out in the open kind of gives the characters an opportunity to start fresh in Season 2. "Everyone's cards are on the table at the beginning of this season," Delbanco told IndieWire. "Everyone knows everything that was going on. There are no longer any secrets that the characters are carrying around. Or lies they're trying to not be caught up in."
Despite the backlash, Delbanco said Netflix was supportive throughout the process. "A lot of people have the experience in TV where if their show isn't the critical darling or doesn't do the kind of numbers the network is hoping for, people look at it with a much colder eye. We didn't have that experience," Delbanco said. So perhaps Netflix will greenlight Season 3 even if Season 2 receives a similarly poor response. Still, fans will most likely have to wait a month or more after the Season 2 premiere to get official confirmation about whether or not Friends from College will be renewed.
No matter the feedback to Season 2, it seems like the showrunners are down to keep it going. "This could go on, in our minds, forever, Delbanco told The TV Dudes podcast at the Austin Film Festival in October. "There are sort of infinite couplings and re-couplings and friends stuff to explore here that could really last for a long time." If Netflix agrees, these Friends from College could have a long future ahead of them.